The Iowa far-right group whose pledge essentially expressed nostalgia for the slave family is withdrawing that portion of the pledge, saying, "It was not meant to be racist or anything." (Really.) Michele Bachmann, who signed it, is claiming she wasn't endorsing that "preamble" in a four-page document. Meanwhile, an undercover investigation reveals that Marcus Bachmann lied about whether his counseling practice tries to "cure" homosexuality.
A statement from the FAMiLY Leader this weekend backtracked from the original language, which read, "Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American President." As was widely pointed out late last week, not only was this philosophically abhorrent, it was historically inaccurate. The group kept out of that detail, though:
"After careful deliberation and wise insight and input from valued colleagues we deeply respect, we agree that the statement referencing children born into slavery can be misconstrued, and such misconstruction can detract from the core message of the Marriage Vow: that ALL of us must work to strengthen and support families and marriages between one woman and one man. We sincerely apologize for any negative feelings this has caused, and have removed the language from the vow."
But the extemporaneous comments from a Family Leader spokeswoman were even more illuminating: "It was not meant to be racist or anything. It was just a fact that back in the days of slavery there was usually a husband and a wife...we were not saying at all that things are better for African-American children in slavery days than today." No, actually that was not a fact. The data they cite begins in 1880, after slavery ended. Slave marriages, such as they were able to exist, had no legal standing. Families that did exist were ripped apart for transactional reasons.
Of course, if you ask the Bachmann campaign, she didn't really sign that part, which was before the bullet points. And the point is, slavery was bad, but so are taxes!
"She signed the 'candidate vow,' " campaign spokeswoman Alice Stewart said, and distanced Bachmann from the preamble language, saying, "In no uncertain terms, Congresswoman Bachmann believes that slavery was horrible and economic enslavement is also horrible."
Maybe this is a failure of our reader comprehension again, but unless "economic enslavement" means literal enslavement, as in forced work without pay, it doesn't belong in the same sentence as actual slavery.
Separately, The Nation has published the fruits of a sting operation by a gay rights group, Truth Wins Out, which sent a 26-year-old gay man to seek "therapy" at Bachmann & Associates, owned by Michele's husband Marcus.
The couple has never made a secret of its anti-gay stance — Marcus Bachmann gave a presentation in 2005 called "The Truth About The Homosexual Agenda" — but for whatever reason, owning up to trying to "cure" gays was a bridge too far for them, and Marcus has always denied it.
Here's what the tape revealed:
"At the core value…in terms of how God created us, we're all heterosexual," he explained, according to the footage. "God has created you for heterosexuality." The therapist also mined Becker's personal history for traumatic experiences that might have turned him gay. To curb Becker's gay impulses, the therapist urged him to pray and read Scripture and suggested Becker "develop" his masculinity. He also encouraged him to find a "heterosexual guy" to act as an AA-type sponsor. Later, he referred Becker to Outpost Ministries, a church that helps "the sexually and relationally broken"—in other words, homosexuals—"find healing and restoration through relationship with Jesus Christ."
Reporter Mariah Blake also found another former patient of Bachmann & Associates who had a similar experience:
"He basically said being gay was not an acceptable lifestyle in God's eyes," Ramirez recalls. According to Ramirez, his therapist then set about trying to "cure" him. Among other things, he urged Ramirez to pray and read the Bible, particularly verses that cast homosexuality as an abomination, and referred him to a local church for people who had given up the "gay lifestyle." He even offered to set Ramirez up with an ex-lesbian mentor.
The Bachmanns are close to one famous "ex-lesbian," Janet Boynes, whose before-and-after images were part of Bachmann's 2005 presentation: first "a dour masculine-looking woman with cropped hair, followed by a smiling paragon of femininity." So-called "reparative therapy" has been thoroughly debunked by the scientific establishment and linked to depression and suicidal tendencies.
By the way, the latest poll numbers, taken from late June, actually show Bachmann overtaking Romney for the first time.
Conservative Group Backtracks On Marriage Pledge Slavery Language [Politico]
‘God Has Created You for Heterosexuality': Clinics Owned By Michele Bachmann's Husband Practice Ex-Gay Therapy [Nation]
TIR Poll: Bachmann Overtakes Romney In Iowa [TIR]